Galvin Spreads Fascination with Science to Next Generation of Researchers
Creativity and innovative thinking have helped Greg Galvin to launch three technology-based start-ups in Ithaca. Now, this local entrepreneur and BTI board member wants to spark the same love of scientific exploration in today’s youth.
“All the companies that I’ve started or been affiliated with have been technology-based companies, so I have a long-standing interest in STEM education and making sure that that pipeline remains as full as we can get it,” said Galvin, “Personally and corporate philanthropy-wise, we’ve always tried to support things relating to STEM education.”
After completing his Ph.D. in materials science and an MBA at Cornell University, Galvin successfully launched Kionix in 1993. The company is based on Cornell research and makes tiny sensors that detect acceleration, for use in smartphones and other electronics. After selling off Kionix in two transactions, Galvin founded Rheonix in 2008, which develops “lab-on-a-chip” systems using microfluidics for food safety and medical testing. Following the second Kionix sale, Galvin was asked to serve as interim CEO of Ithaca-based Mezmeriz, Inc., which makes 3D imaging systems for architecture, virtual reality and self-driving cars. Galvin is also on the management team at Incodema 3D, an Ithaca-based company that manufactures metal parts through advanced 3D printing.
Galvin believes strongly in the importance of STEM education and generously contributes his time and resources to many science and technology-related organizations, including BTI.
Galvin first became involved with BTI in 2003 through then BTI development officer Dorothy Reddington, who recruited him to assist in the board’s efforts to have more involvement with businesses. During the past thirteen years, he has enjoyed interacting with the other board members and lending his expertise to a worthwhile organization.
“The work that BTI does is really exceptional,” said Galvin. “It’s really fun to be involved with organizations that do outstanding work.”
Galvin brings a business-like focus to the board’s activities, and works to keep the meetings on task and on schedule. He serves on the Investment and Finance Committee, Audit Committee, the Executive Committee, and the External Relations & Development Committee, where he is closely involved with BTI’s Office of Technology Transfer.
Apart from his service on the BTI board, Galvin also chairs the board of the Sciencenter in Ithaca and the Cornell Engineering College Council. He is a member of the Tompkins County Area Development Inc. board, the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, the Department of Materials Science advisory council, and a Cornell town-gown task force. He was named the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.
BTI’s Education and Outreach activities have also benefited from Galvin’s support. He has sponsored the annual Plant Genome Research Program Student Symposium for the past two years, enabling high school and college interns to hone their communications skills by presenting their research to the greater BTI community each summer. His company Rheonix has pledged $30,000 to the program over the next three years.
“I think they’re doing a great job of it,” he said of the group, which is led by Director of Education and Outreach Tiffany Fleming.
Galvin thinks that some of the best ways to spark an interest in science and technology are competitions, such as the ones that inspire school children to build robots, or clubs, like Girls Who Code, a group that helps girls learn computer programming.
“It’s these kinds of competitive projects that engage kids, be they middle school all the way into college, in engineering and technology activities. It’s so much more motivating to them than sitting in a classroom. It’s about being with their peers, working on something tangible and then the joy of competing and winning.”
With Galvin’s help, perhaps BTI may one day launch a plant breeding competition or a “Girls Who Sequence” group. Like his other projects, it is almost certain to be a success.